Wendy, Dad & (sister) Lori, March 2003; Last good photo before he died of cancer January, 2004
My Cancer Journey
Every day I hear about yet another person who has died of cancer or has been diagnosed with cancer and my heart breaks! It's all too familiar to me. My dad died of pancreatic/liver cancer. My mother beat endometrial cancer and then died October 12, 2012, of what appeared to be liver cancer or blood cancer (polycythemia vera). My youngest daughter was miraculously healed of childhood liver cancer. Other relatives too numerous to mention fought cancer. Then in July, 2010, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.
The medical community offered me one plan to address it; their standard of care. Unaware of alternative treatments, I went along with their approach, to a degree, and had a bowel resection to remove a tumor but refused chemo because they said that there was a 50/50 chance they got all the cancer and chemo would give me a 70% chance to get rid of what was left, if anything. On top of that, they told me that since I was allergic to so many antibiotics, there was a huge concern that if I got sick while on chemo, they wouldn't know what to give me and the infection might kill me. That wasn't too comforting! It convinced me that I needed to find something else.
I started doing a lot of reading and was convinced that diet and supplements would do the trick. I consulted with two nutrition specialists and dramatically changed the way I ate. Then on top of that, I ordered supplements that I read about that would help restore my immune system and kill cancer. I also attempted to work with a Naturopathic doctor but it was so costly. Now I had no support or guidance and was on my own.
The philosophy of the alternative method to address cancer makes a lot of sense to me. Treat the root cause rather than treat the symptoms. The goal is to find out what caused the body to get sick and fix that, then allow the body's own immune system to heal itself. Once restored, the human immune system is designed, with proper support, to be a mighty army, created by God, to attack the enemy. I am sold on that approach.
Unfortunately, my own attempts at putting together a battle plan proved to be ineffective. At the one year anniversary of my surgery, I had a follow up colonoscopy and guess what? There was evidence of irregular cells at the location of the bowel resection. The doctor biopsied and the results showed recurrence. I was referred to Hershey for a consult. They offered the same standard plan of care, but added that if I had come to them in 2010, not only would they have done chemo and surgery, I would have a colostomy bag! That scared me to death! This is serious business! So I researched a more traditional alternative that combines traditional medicine with alternative medicine and have higher success percentages than most places. They wouldn't accept my insurance. It had too low of a payout. When I asked then if they would work with me if I found someone to pay for it in cash, they still wouldn't work with me!
With that door closed, and traditional approaches not my thing, I had a crazy idea to call the author of one of the books I had read who was a Christian MD who used integrative and alternative medicine, Dr. Donald Colbert. He wasn't an oncologist, but he specialized in boosting the immune system. Much to my delight, he accepted me as a patient even though I lived hundreds of miles away. My husband and I flew to FL, had an evaluation, was given a protocol of supplements and lifestyle recommendations including a strict cancer diet, sauna, juicing, coffee enemas, laughter, sleep, exercise, and stress relief. I felt at peace. So with all the effort I could muster, I carried out this protocol with a vengeance, down to the last detail! The only problem was that the diet was so restrictive that I lost weight to an unhealthy level and was basically starving myself to death. And I couldn't stand the taste of juiced green vegetables. I didn't risk doing the coffee enemas because I had tested allergic to coffee years ago. Plus I was stressing over all the details to the point that I was getting worse instead of better! I felt in my gut that I was losing ground, so I decided to have another scope done after four months on the protocol.
The results of this scope weren't much more comforting than the previous one because this time, I had an actual tumor instead of irregular cells and to top that off, the doctor was concerned that I might have a bowel obstruction if I didn't do anything about it. My new plan wasn't evidently strong enough to destroy the cancer cells left in my body, so I was referred to Johns Hopkins to see if they could remove the tumor. That visit wasn't very comforting either! They refused to remove the tumor because it was a recurrence. Instead they proposed targeted radiation and chemo followed by another bowel resection and a colostomy bag followed by more chemo. In addition they comforted me with their statistics that said this whole procedure might be 45% effective and the probability of a recurrence was extremely high. I thought to myself, "You've gotta be kidding me! To go through all that and it's highly likely it will come back and I'll have to do it all over again! I don't think so!"
Once again I was faced with a critical decision, to go the traditional route and take my 45% chance, wear a colostomy bag and endure dreaded, possibly deadly chemo and likely recurrence, OR go back to the drawing board and figure out why my protocols weren't effective. I chose the latter and it put me on a new journey, which I walk today. I chose the path not typically taken. I chose to stick with my gut and follow an alternative plan. This time though, something is different. This time God got through to me with HIS plan. To read more about this, click the "Lessons Learned" tab.